Thursday, April 8, 2010

Been away for awhile

I've been less diligent about blogging recently. That's mostly due to our 10 days in Hawaii from 03-17 to 03-26. It truly was paradise. After being home for a couple of weeks now, what I miss the most is listening to people speak the native Hawaiian language. For 10 days everything was "Aloha" and "Mahalo" and when I say it now it sounds so foreign. When Peanut takes his medication every day I say, "Mahalo" to thank him and just so I can hear the word.
Of course the snow that fell overnight isn't helping me re-adjust to being at home either. Only one day was the weather pretty lousy in Hawaii, it was very windy with a high temperature of 68 degrees on our first day on the big island of Hawaii. They say there's always rain somewhere on the islands due to the volcanoes and when we traveled up into the higher elevations touring the volcanoes we found the rain.
The fascinating thing about Hawaii for me is that it is so different from the rest of the U.S. At one point there was a ruling monarchy located in Hawaii which is not something any other U.S. state can claim. Of course the original colonies were under the rule of King George of England, but his court wasn't located in the U.S. Hawaiian history is unlike so much U.S. history, I find that very interesting. I recently finished reading a book I bought while on vacation titled Hawaiian Journey which gives a general overview of the Hawaiian way of life before and after colonization and statehood. I recommend it to anyone interested in a general overview of Hawaiian rule and history.
Maui was my favorite of the three islands we visited because it truly is paradise (to me), but one of the biggest highlights of our trip occurred on the second day we were there when our tour group went to Pearl Harbor. There is construction happening on-site to update the Visitor's Center and other parts of the park, but taking the ferry to the USS Arizona and spending time on her remains is a somber and thought provoking experience. My great-uncle Carl Krause was in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and survived. There is a 30 minute movie watched before touring the park and heading out to the Arizona, part of which discusses what it was like for the rest of the island on December 7th. I had never thought about that before. Pearl Harbor is technically located in Pearl City, which now bumps right up against Honolulu. It's not like the attacks happened in a remote location or on a fleet of ships that were out at sea; there were civilians surrounding the naval base and those people too were effected by and victims of the attacks on that Sunday morning. It was a good reminder that war takes place in the context of real people, and that perspective is sometimes lost when bombs are dropped from thousands of feet up in the air and there is no ground contact with the affected populations.
So there's snow on the ground in Wisconsin on April 8th, but I'm sure the sun is shining on the island of paradise.